Institute's Brendan McLaughlin completes remarkable five minute turnaround against 10 man Ards
Institute 2 Ards 1
INSTITUTE's Brendan McLaughlin's 95th minute strike completed a sensational five minute turnaround against 10 man Ards at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
The experienced Ross Arthurs gave second placed Ards a deserved lead on 29 minutes but the game hinged on defender Christopher Crane's sending off with 14 minutes to go.
Brian Donaghey's troops refused to lay down and were rewarded with substitute Jack Millar's fortuitous 90th minute goal to get them level.
And McLaughlin completed a remarkable turnaround in the fifth of eight added minutes as he blasted into the roof of the net to clinch a precious victory.
It was his fifth goal of the season in all competitions and the most impressive of 'Stute's three league wins.
In fact it was the Waterside club's fourth win in five games under the stewardship of Donaghey and he will be delighted with the never-say-die character shown by his players against one of the league's in-form teams.
The home side made a bright start but it was Ards who created the first promising opening of the match with three minutes on the clock.
Kym Nelson won possession deep inside the 'Stute half and when the ball was eventually worked towards Salou Jallow, the striker turned neatly on the edge of the box before firing wide of the target.
'Stute tested the Ards keeper on 18 minutes when Jamie Dunne floated an inviting ball towards the back post but Aidan McCauley's header lacked the power and conviction to trouble Brian Neeson.
At the other end Jallow raced beyond the 'Stute defence and when he crossed low into the penalty area the ball found its way, via a deflection, to the feet of Nelson who took a touch before his strike was blocked superbly by Rhys McDermott.
The home side failed to clear a corner and when Patrick Cafolla found Christopher Crane with a neat pass on the left, his low cross was palmed away by John Connolly. The ball fell kindly to Arthurs who reacted quickly and blasted into the roof of the net to open the scoring just short of the half hour mark.
Ards keeper Neeson saved comfortably from Shaun Doherty's curling free-kick on the edge of the penalty area as 'Stute wasted a promising chance to get back on level terms four minutes later.
Crane's inswinging corner kick from the right evaded everyone in the six yard box and bounced off the far post as 'Stute managed to clear the danger with the last action of the first half.
Ards broke at pace with Jallow eight minutes into the second half and when he squared the ball to the supporting Caffola who was in space 12 yards from goal, McDermott made up the ground and charged down his shot.
The visitors had the ball in the back of the net when substitute Calvin McCurry steered Jallow's cross into the corner of the net on 70 minutes but it was quickly ruled out for offside much to the dismay of the visitors.
Moments later Ards dangerman Jallow was played in on goal and his shot from a tight angle was deflected over the bar by McDermott.
Ards defender Crane was shown a straight red on 76 minutes for an off the ball clash with Stute substitute Joel Gorman.
The visitors almost caught Stute napping 60 seconds after Crane left the field as Jallow once again found himself in behind the defence after a quick break but his curling effort bounced the wrong side of the post.
'Stute should've been back on level terms on 79 minutes as Brendan McLaughlin found Jamie Dunne inside the six yard box with a pinpoint cross but the winger headed tamely into the hands of Neeson.
Aidy McCauley forced a fine save from Neeson as Stute pressed for an equaliser late on.
And from the resultant corner Neeson punched the ball downwards and it rebounded off the foot of substitute Millar, looped over the keeper's head and nestled into the net.
There was still time for more as 'Stute sensed a winner and when McCauley crossed low into the packed penalty area McLaughlin fired into the back of the net with a clinical strike to complete a remarkable turnaround.
Institute: J. Connolly; J. Bradley (J. Gorman 52), R. McDermott, J. Bradley Walsh, C. Quigley (Jack Millar 85); J. Dunne, S. Doherty, A. McCauley, L. Walsh; B. McLaughlin; G. Aduaka; Subs Not Used - D. Doherty, C. McBrearty, P. McLaughlin, E. Logue, A. Hargan.
Ards: B. Neeson; C. Young, J. McGovern, K. Nelson, R. O'Hare, J. Glover, C. Crane, P. Cafolla (D. O'Kane 68), T. Murray (N. O'Neill 88), R. Arthurs (C. McCurry 56), S. Jallow (K. Calderwood 88); Subs Not Used - S. Dinu, C. McGrandles, E. Scannell.
Referee: Neil Robinson.